Things to do around Hollins Cottage

Kirkcudbright Grand Parade takes place in August

Things are constantly changing in the light of Covid-19 restrictions so please check before setting off to any of these destinations.

Hollins is situated one and a half miles outside the village of Balmaclellan, which has a shop, and three and a half miles from New Galloway which has another shop, tea-rooms (we like The Smithy), an arts centre (The Catstrand), hotels and a Post Office.

A five mile drive north up the A713 is St John's Town of Dalry where the Clachan Inn can be found. This is highly recommended as a place to eat but book early as it gets very busy! Dalry also has a shop, a hotel, a petrol station with a shop, a charity shop and a good hairdresser (Hair by Jayne). Dalry is the closest place to join The Southern Upland Way, a 214 mile footpath from Portpatrick near Stranraer to Cockburnspath north of Berwick-upon-Tweed! Some parts west of Dalry near Clatteringshaw's Loch are suitable for cycling.

The nearest big town is Castle Douglas, a pretty sixteen mile drive down the A713 beside Loch Ken. Loch Ken is a beautiful place and if you're needing some exercise then there's the Galloway Activity Centre where you can go sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, mountain biking and all sorts of other tiring things. If you are less athletic then fishing permits are available from Loch Ken Holiday Park.

Continuing on the way to "CD" you will pass through Parton where James Clark Maxwell is buried. Castle Douglas is a "food town" and boasts many coffee shops (I counted 12 but I may have missed some), an artisan bakery (Earth's Crust), a brewery, Greek, Chinese and high-end restaurants, three butchers and many other shops including a sizeable Tesco and a couple of Co-op supermarkets. Just outside Castle Douglas is Threave Castle and Threave Gardens (National Trust for Scotland) which are well worth exploring.

If you come to the area do visit the Solway coast around Gatehouse of Fleet, explore Cardonness Castle and paddle at Mossyard bay or Sandgreen. Gatehouse has an interesting riverside mill with two water wheels and a book shop. Stock up on Jams and preserves at Galloway Lodge, and stop for a meal or a cake in their attractive restaurant. If you're feeling really posh you can have afternoon tea or a slap-up meal at the Cally Palace Hotel just outside the town.

Travel a few miles further west and you'll pass Carsluith Castle which has a farm shop and tea room (I do like a tea room!) to reach the Galloway Smokehouse where you can buy some fine local smoked produce or eat in the Galloway Fisherman Cafe.

Hollins has enough books for even the most avid of readers but if you're a real bookworm then Wigtown "Town of Books" has to be on your itinerary. It's a 28 mile drive from Hollins but the scenery on the A712 across the hills from New Galloway is superb and you can visit the buzzing town of Newton Stewart on the way.

If you travel up the picturesque A702 from Dalry to Moniaive, a switchback of a road, you can try the Piccola Italia restaurant or the Glenwhisk Cafe & Bistro. I haven't yet tried these but I'll get round to it eventually. Whilst you're up there, explore Cairnhead and the interesting Striding Arches art project.

Make sure you also pay a visit to Kirkcudbright "Artists Town" which has an two excellent art galleries, a castle, a marina and many other attractions. A meal at the Selkirk Arms Hotel is a good way to round off a day exploring the town. Travel on through Kirkcudbright on the A711 and you'll get to the ruins of the 12th century Dundrennan Abbey which are great to explore on a sunny day.

I notice that I've concentrated on towns and cafes here but the area is famed for its wildlife and ancient history too. The Galloway Forest Park area is designated as a "Dark-Sky Park" so is excellent for star gazing. The garden at Hollins is pretty good too, make sure you bring your binoculars!

For further information on bookings please call 0121 314 7092 or click on the envelope to E-mail us::

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